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Kano Laboratory Will Start Working This Afternoon, High COVID-19 Cases Not Surprising —- NCDC

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says it remains focused on the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

The agency said on Monday in Abuja that it would increase testing for the virus across the country as a strategy to succeed.

Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, gave the reassurance at the daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He explained that the increasing cases of COVID-19 in Kano State were not surprising.

“I will like to remind everyone that we remain focused on our target which is to increase testing across the country; during a pandemic, the risk of spread is in those towns where the population density is highest.

“We are all aware of the population density in Kano. The high number of cases we are now seeing in Kano is really not a surprise,” he said.

“Since reporting its index case about two weeks ago, Kano has been the centre of controversies ranging from the rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases to the sudden halt of its only testing centre.

“Kano, which currently stands as the third hardest-hit state in Nigeria has so far reported 77 cases out of the 1,273 cases of the infection Nigeria,” he said.

Ihekweazu said that NCDC was also working hard to investigate the cause of some deaths in the state.

He said that the agency did everything possible to activate the Kano laboratory.

The director-general said that the laboratory, domiciled at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, hosted many northern states.

“I am happy to announce that the Kano laboratory will start working this afternoon and start testing samples again as it should be.

”This has not been an easy effort. It has taken the collective effort of my team, the laboratory scientists in Kano and many people that have quietly worked on this to make it happen.

”We will not stop until the laboratory is fully functional again, ” he said.

He noted that there were concerns about happenings in Kano, saying that efforts were being made to address the issues.

“We want to address the Kano issue headlong. We are very concerned about what is happening in the state but there is no magic bullet. We will continue to work hard,” he said.

(NAN)

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‘I Paid 42k Twice For COVID-19 Test’ — Sweden Returnee Laments Extortion In Abuja

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Ndubuisi Ekwulonu, a Nigerian who came into the country from Sweden, says he was extorted in Abuja, as he paid twice for the mandatory COVID-19 test for passengers on international flights.

It is compulsory for all passengers coming into the country to provide negative COVID-19 test results prior to boarding; passengers are also expected to pay for a repeat test, which will be done after arrival.

Speaking with Brekete Family, a reality programme focused on human rights, in a viral video, Ekwulonu said despite paying twice for the COVID-19 test, his name was not found on the list of people who were to be tested.

“At the airport, there is a form the federal government said we would fill online before we leave where we are coming from. So after I filled the form, there are two options; either I pay with card or on arrival. Because of the bad network in Nigeria, I chose the option of paying on arrival,” he said.

“So, on getting to Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja, I used my ATM card and I showed them a picture that I have filled the form and they saw the ‘capture’. They requested my passport number which I gave them and they filled it in on their computer and brought out their POS. I paid and was debited N42,750.

“I was given two options; one laboratory in Jabi, the other in Maitama. Because I live close to Maitama, I chose that. But if you put the address of the laboratory in Google, it will take you to Emab Plaza, one laboratory there.”

He said on getting there, the people at the lab said they were unaware of what he was asking for and told him to leave.

“So, I came out, met a gateman to direct me to the place. He said I should go to THISDAY Dome. I went there; they said I should go to the ministry of health in the secretariat. At the ministry, I was directed to MM, one conference center. So, I took the taxi there and found the lab.

“I told the guy that they will ban me from the country if I don’t do the test and he said he will forward my information to Lagos which he did.”

Ekwulonu said he waited at the laboratory the whole day for a response from Lagos, but unfortunately, none came.

“I went home, came back. He checked the system and said my name is not on the list they gave him. Luckily for me, two people on the same flight with me came and couldn’t find their names. Even my friend from Sweden couldn’t find his name,” he said.

“Then they said I will have to pay another money if I want to do the test. I paid another N42,750 and did the test.

“This morning… I am supposed to leave Nigeria on Saturday, they sent me a message that I have to pay again for another test.”

Ndubuisi, who was in tears, lamented the difficulty in securing a job as a Nigerian in Sweden. He said there are about 5,700 employees where he works, but 5,000 were sacked.

“And I was among those retained. It took me time to get this job because I am a Nigerian. Even a Rwandan will get a job before you and these are people you know, in every aspect of life, you are better than them. Just because you are carrying a Nigerian passport, to get a job will be hard, so how can I lose my job because I came into Nigeria?” he lamented as he burst into tears.

However, later on, Tuesday, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), in a tweet, said Ndubuisi had been refunded.

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The Story Was Twisted Fundamentally Out Of Context, My Client Never Begged Salami Panel For Mercy —– Magu’s Lawyer

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Wahab Shittu, counsel to Ibrahim Magu, suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says his client never admitted to the allegations against him.

Magu is being investigated by a presidential panel over allegations of abuse of office and mismanagement of recovered assets under his watch as acting chairman of the EFCC.

Magu appeared before the panel last Friday to defend himself.

Shittu, in a statement on Tuesday, said the report that Magu confessed to the panel that he was overzealous as EFCC chairman and begged for mercy was misleading.

“We wish to state that this story was twisted fundamentally out of context by my client’s accusers who want to hit back at my client without justification,” he said.

“It is true that Magu and my humble self addressed the panel at the conclusion of his defense while Magu clarified that he threw himself to the job of acting chair because of his passion for the anti-corruption war, a situation that may be alleged overzealousness in some quarters.

“He however pleaded for justice and fair-play by the panel members in the context of his overall achievements and his fledgling career which hitherto remain unblemished and will terminate in two years’ time.

“Counsel to Magu also urged the panel members in the interest of fear of God and loyalty to their conscience to ensure justice in the matter and concluded by thanking them for patience and understanding throughout the proceedings.

“At no time did Magu admit to guilt to the allegations, the subject matter of the inquiry. Indeed the only thing going for Magu is the conviction of his innocence.

“A member of the panel had cause to inquire from me whether I am convinced that the panel will do justice to my client? I responded in the affirmative and I hope my optimism of the justice of the process at the end will not be illusory.”

He said as Nigerians wait on the Ayo Salami-led panel to do justice in this matter, commentators in the public space should comment based on facts and law.

According to the lawyer, the preoccupation of the inquiry is to reveal the truth without grandstanding, sensationalism, dramatization, or any attempt at the coloration of the truth.

“The danger is that these orchestrated stories in the public space may have the effect of shifting the real focus from the quest for facts and truth which is the real focus of the inquiry to sensationalism, half-truths, propaganda which will neither benefit either Nigerians who are interested in the real facts and truth nor the panel members who have toiled for days to execute the assignment including the subject of inquiry whose proclamation of guilt or innocence will define his future career and his perception in the public space,” he said.

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Nigerian Govt Orders DisCos To Suspend Electricity Tariff Hike

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The Federal Government has ordered the Electricity Distribution Companies in the country to suspend the recent hike in tariff.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission issued the order on Tuesday night.

This followed an agreement reached by the Federal Government and Organised Labour for the suspension of the hike in tariff for 14 days.

According to the NERC, the tariff suspension will be from September 28, 2020, to October 2, 2020.

The Order, No. NERC/209/2020, with the title: “NERC Order on the suspension of the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2020 for the electricity distribution licensees,” was signed by the NERC Chairman, James Momoh; and the Commissioner, Legal, Licensing and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, and addressed to the country’s DisCos.

 

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